August Jazz Odds and Ends

August 23rd, 2013 | by Dan Clayton

We’re deep in the dog days now, which means relevant basketball topics are hard to find with both hands and a flashlight. Here, for want of anything truly novel in the Jazz universe, are a few random thoughts about the mid-August tidbits which have surfaced around our squad.

More extension talk

I promise not to bore you with too much on the topic of extensions, since I’ve already written a post and done a podcast on Derrick Favors’ and Gordon Hayward’s range, both with the help of SLC Dunk contributor Peter Novak. But David Locke in his 8/22 podcast gave us some new fodder for the conversation.

A lot of people talk as though $12M is pretty much the floor for Favors’ conversation. Locke is looking at it differently, pointing to comps of other promising but non-All-Star bigs who got in the 9-10M range per year. He pretty much seems to view the range as $40-48M over a four year deal, in contrast to others who think the bidding starts at $48M and just goes north from there.

I’m with Locke here. I think based on precedent and based on what we know about Favors today, the Jazz can start negotiating at $40M with a straight face. Not saying that’s where the dollar figure will land, but I don’t think you come out of the gate offering $12M when honestly I think that should be Favors’ ceiling as far as extensions go. As Locke put it, “This is a deal that should get done if everyone’s reasonable here. The only way it doesn’t get done is if Derrick’s crew really believes… that Derrick goes on the open market and gets a max deal.” I just don’t see Favors commanding the max, although a huge leap in playing time and touches in 2013-14 could alter his value in one direction or the other.

The field

I guess a lot of this comes down to the 2014 market and who will want to spend. I know a lot of teams can create cap space to offer Derrick a 12M+ deal, but I still insist that next year’s free agent market will have some unprecedented weirdness. The confluence of factors (the number of true marquee stars, the new repeater tax, the frenzy around the 2014 draft, etc.) will make next year a nutty free agency period, and I’m not sure a good agent will guarantee his client anything in that type of volatility.

Either way, I thought I’d take a quick look at the 2014 free agent class and imagine where I might rank Hayward and Favors.

First of all, I’m not even sure they rank at the top of the restricted free agent pool. Greg Monroe and Paul George (if they hit restricted free agency at all) will be the prizes there, but DeMarcus Cousins, Greivis Vasquez, Evan Turner, and Eric Bledsoe have all been playing major roles and putting up solid performances, so I’m not sure you could in good conscience put our guys ahead of that group. Even Avery Bradley and Ed Davis have shown flashes but have been similarly hidden behind veteran stars. So far I’d say Hayward and Favors are at best the 5th & 6th sexiest potential RFAs and maybe as low as 9th & 10th. And that’s without leaving the 2009 draft class.

They start sinking farther when we examine the star-studded unrestricted class, starting with LeBron*, Kobe, Tim Duncan*, Dirk Nowitzki, Carmelo* and Dwyane Wade, all undoubtedly ahead of GH and DF on any sane team’s free agent pecking order. Depending on age, health and other factors, you could feasibly add Paul Pierce, Luol Deng, Andrew Bogut, Danny Granger, Pau Gasol, Zach Randolph*, Chris Bosh*, Rudy Gay*, Andrei Kirilenko* and even a revived A’mare Stoudemire* to the top end of the list, although more than likely the fourth year Jazz men will surpass at least a couple of those dudes.

Add those groups together and our guys are probably going to be ranked anywhere from mid teens to late twenties in next year’s free agent market, which has to matter when assessing their extension values. In this year’s free agent crop, a mid-teen free agent was worth an “average annual value” of $7 to 7.5M in Amin Elhassan’s ESPN study, and in the real world the 11-20 group in the same ranking pulled in an average yearly salary of $7M in their new deals. The high man in that group was Monta Ellis ($10M/yr) and the low guy was Kirilenko ($3M). Everyone else was $5-8M per year.

Tracking Marv

In the same Locke podcast I mentioned earlier, he also gave a cryptic-yet-encouraging update on Jazz swingman Marvin Williams. He said he’d heard good things about Williams’ recovery from knee surgery, saying, “I talked to some people [and] there is some optimism… I think there’s a chance he could be ready November 1 or even training camp.”

That could be great for the Jazz. I have Williams tagged as a guy who could really exceed expectations in 2013-14. There was a lot of hope that his move to Utah would be a welcome change of scenery for Marvin, but as it turns out that was pretty misguided. The JefferJazz offense (which I’ve described as both plodding and anti-slasher) was, we know now, the exact wrong system for Marvin’s skills. But as a part-time 4 and a complement to a more pick-and-roll oriented attack, this could be a good year for Marvin, not to mention for the Jazz as they ponder whether he fits in the future plans.

I also think Williams is underrated as a locker room leader. He was one of the most thoughtful, professional and on-message guys whenever I wandered into the locker room to chat with players last season. His personal struggles probably made it hard to exert himself, but he could be a good mentor to some of the younger players who have to figure out how to lead.

The old guy

Finally, I found humor in an Instagram post by incoming Jazz guard Brandon Rush that was shared by @WeAreJazzNation on Twitter. Not a lot of news is coming from the P3 workouts in Santa Barbara, but I thought it was funny that Rush, all of 28 years old, hashtagged the photo calling himself “oldasshell” (sic) in relation to his young Jazz peers.

 

When the senior citizen in Santa Barbara was alive for the Challenger tragedy and the premier of Teen Wolf, you know the demographic is shifting.

That’s all I have for this week. August rolls on and the season is about 24 hours closer each day.

Dan Clayton

Dan Clayton

Dan covered Utah Jazz basketball for more than 10 years, including as a radio analyst for the team’s Spanish-language broadcasts from 2010 to 2014. He now lives and works in New York City where his hobbies include complaining about League Pass, finding good doughnut shops and dishing out assists for the Thoreau It Down team in the Word Bookstore basketball league.
Dan Clayton

3 Comments

  1. Jay Gold says:

    To an extent, I see what you’re saying about the RFA class; it’s pretty loaded. That said, I think it’s more than a little absurd to say that you couldn’t rank Hayward and Favors ahead of Greivis Vasquez and Evan Turner in good conscience. If you just take a few moments to look at advanced stats (or even per 36 numbers), you can easily do just that (in fact, I think you’d be hard-pressed to rank Vasquez or Turner as highly as Hayward or Favors in good conscience).

    Cousins, Monroe, and Bledsoe are closer calls and I wouldn’t necessarily fault anyone for preferring those guys over Hayward and Favors, but I also think it would be perfectly reasonable to prefer Hayward and/or Favors. Cousins has crazy talent and puts up great raw numbers, but he’s inefficient, knuckle-headed, and horrible defensively. Monroe’s a really nice rebounder and passer, but he’s a pretty awful defender as well. Finally, I love Bledsoe, but he’s not exactly a true point and he hasn’t shown the ability to score efficiently.

    So, based on all of that, I don’t think it’s fair to say that Hayward and Favors are at best the 5th and 6th sexiest RFA’s. I think you could easily argue that they’re the 2nd and 3rd best options (not necessarily in that order) out of that field. They just haven’t gotten the opportunities some of those other guys have. I also think it’s ridiculous to say they might be the 9th and 10th best options out of that field. Turner posted .035 WS/48 last year and has never reached the 50% barrier in TS% while Vasquez is a 26 year old with limited upside. I think you make a good point about Bradley and Davis, but I still have a hard time believing anyone would rank Hayward and Favors that low.

    I really like what you have to say about Marv, though. I’d love it if he was somehow ready for training camp. I definitely think he could have a nice rebound year.

  2. Bogner says:

    I couldn’t have put it better myself, Jay!

  3. Casey Greer says:

    I agree w/ a few things, disagree w/ a few things. I agree that the floor for starting a conversation w/ Favors should be 10 million a year, and the highest they should go is 12. If Favors thinks he can get more (I think there is a good chance he thinks so), he’ll probably opt for RFA.
    I disagree that we can accurately place where Favors will be in demand next year in the free agency pool. One, I’m not sure you can just throw him on a list of most desired free agents, when every team has different needs. If someone is looking for a shot blocking center, Favors could be 1st on that list right?
    Second, we don’t know how many people will sign extensions before oct30, and we don’t know how many players will simply exercise their player options. For example, there could be a possible 30 players out of the players you mentioned available on the market. Now that could very well eat up a lot of cap space for a lot of teams and drive down Hayward/Favors price. But lets look at the other extreme. If every guy in favors class signs an extension and the other players you mentioned opt back into their contracts, that will only leave 7 players on the FA market, and a few of them will probably be behind Favors/Hayward. There is just too much variance to accurately determine what the market will look like. Lindsey could try to, but I wouldn’t feel confident in any projection of what the FA field will look like.

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